Do you find it difficult to make photographs that stand out and truly resonate with the people who view them? Let me share with you three key ways you can practice that will change your photographic experience and will assist you in making more dynamic photos.
1. Know your subject – don’t just know about them
Research, understand and relate to your subject. Communicate with your subject – whether that be a person, pet or place, (or anything else,) you need to relate to and have rapport your subject.
The more knowledge and understanding you have of your subject the easier it will be for you to make compelling photographs of it or them. Sometimes, as is common with travel photography, having a fresh perspective on a subject will allow you to capture it in a way an expert may not see. But generally having some education about your subject will aid you in producing better, more dynamic photos.
Develop an intuitive sense
Knowing your subject well will give you more opportunity to get an intuitive sense of when it’s the right time to make a picture. Knowing and being passionate about your subject will help you develop your intuition.
Being comfortable with your subject, even if you do not know it so well, will also help you to create more interesting and unique photographs of that subject. Having the ability to really focus on your subject, observing them carefully, the surroundings, the lighting and any activity associated with them, will help you to develop a meaningful connection.
This is something that can sometimes happen quite quickly and at other times will need to be developed over a longer duration.
2. Don’t Focus on your equipment
There’s a lot to be said for knowing your camera equipment well and being confident using it like you’ve mastered it. Being in control of your gear and being competent using it so that your focus can be immersed on your subject allows you to connect in a more meaningful way because you are not distracted. Achieving this ability takes nothing more than a little study and a whole lot of practice.
Use camera settings you’re comfortable with
Using camera settings you are comfortable with releases you to give more attention to your subject. When you work with camera equipment you are not familiar with or maybe when you first start trying to understand and use manual mode, your focus will be on your camera, not on your subject.
Becoming familiar with a camera and how to work with it confidently takes concentrated practice. Just as a musician will not take the stage and play a brand new song they’ve written without practicing it well first. Neither should you expect stunning results from a camera or technique you are not familiar with and well practiced at doing. Sure, sometimes you can get lucky, but to be consistently good you need to practice a lot.
3. Follow your passion
This is why people who photograph subjects they are passionate about will typically produce more creative, interesting pictures than someone who photographs a subject they have no real interest in or connection with.
My wife takes far better photos of flowers than I do. She is passionate about flowers, she loves growing them. She has a lot of knowledge about flowers and flowering trees. Taking care of them and making sure they have the best conditions in which to flourish is important to her. She consistently makes far more beautiful and creative photographs of flowers than I do because she is passionate about them. They may not always be technically correct, but they are made with feeling and convey that feeling.